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Edgewood Drive intersection fix-up to get state funds

August 02, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - The state of Maryland will pay $6 million toward improvements to a congested U.S. 40 and Edgewood Drive intersection, and Washington County and the City of Hagerstown will cover the remaining cost of the $12 million project.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich announced the partnership Tuesday in a written statement.

The county will pay approximately $3.6 million and the city will contribute $2.4 million to the project.

"That's great news," County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said by phone Tuesday. "I'm real excited that we'll be able to go forward with this project and have all those improvements in place before the new hospital opens up."

Washington County Health System plans to build a 500,000-square-foot hospital next to Robinwood Medical Center off Robinwood Drive.

The road project is expected to begin in the spring of 2008 and be completed by the spring of 2010, according to the statement from the Governor's Press Office.

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The project includes widening U.S. 40 (Dual Highway) and Edgewood Drive to improve safety and traffic flow.

Approximately 30,000 vehicles per day use U.S. 40, and the number is expected to increase to about 60,000 vehicles by 2030, the statement said.

The project will add a third through lane in each direction on U.S. 40, extend existing left- and right-turn lanes on U.S. 40, and widen Edgewood Drive to create two left-turn lanes, one through lane and one through/right-shared lane in each direction.

"This project will deliver a safer intersection that is better equipped to meet the growing needs of this key area of Hagerstown," Ehrlich said in a written statement. "The traffic congestion at the Edgewood Drive intersection causes crashes and delays that are unacceptable."

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said in the statement that the project is "important for the safety and quality of life for thousands of Washington County residents."

Snook said the state's announcement was in response to a letter he and Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II recently sent proposing the financial arrangement. The commissioners and City Council agreed in June to submit the proposal to the state.

Snook said the commissioners have included the county's share of the project's cost in the capital budget.

The city's share will consist of an approximately $1.65 million contribution and relocating the city's water and sewer lines as needed for the project, which is estimated to cost $750,000.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said by phone Tuesday that the city will benefit most from the partnership because the city will be paying less for the work.

The state originally supported each government paying one-third of the cost.

Kercheval said the county, Greater Hagerstown Committee, Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and CHIEF lobbied hard in Annapolis for greater state financial support for the project.

The improvements will bring much-needed relief to the busy intersection, he said.

"We've had failing traffic out there for years," Kercheval said.




Know more in 30 seconds



The issue:The state of Maryland, Washington County Commissioners and Hagerstown City Council have been discussing improvements to the intersection of U.S. 40 and Edgewood Drive for several years. The improvements include widening the busy intersection to improve safety and traffic flow.

What's new: The state on Tuesday announced it will contribute $6 million of the project's estimated $12 million cost. The county and city will pay the remaining $6 million, with the county paying 60 percent of the remaining cost and the city being responsible for 40 percent.

What's next: Rights-of-way, primarily around the intersection's four corners, will need to be purchased for the project. Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2008 and be completed by Spring 2010.

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